Since the first days of lockdown to now, I have witnessed my parents do a complete 180. I remember the days when they “didn’t understand what was so important on my phone” and couldn’t fathom why “Olympus Has Fallen” needed to be on volume level 55 instead of 15.
I never foresaw the day that my parents (and other Gen Xers) would rely so heavily on technology. This was before COVID-19 swept the nation.
For many, a lot has changed over the past 6 weeks. Things such as my jean sizes, my favorite Netflix series/movie and my preferred quarantine snack. While those changes were expected, something I did not anticipate was seeing the growth of my parents’ fluency in an area that they lacked most, technology.
I’m sure many can relate to having to show a Gen Xer (someone born between 1965 and 1980) how to work their phone, tablet, iPad, Kindle or even their HD television.
Research on Pewresearch.org states that about 90 percent of Gen Xers own smartphones. However, only about 17 percent of them use it as their primary source for content and communication.
Some are turning to other devices such as desktop computers (owned by 69 percent of Gen Xers) and laptops (owned by 61 percent of Gen Xers).
These stats I know to be true because I have witnessed them firsthand. However, during this pandemic the occupants in my house have seemly gotten over the technology barrier and are entering the world of tech savviness. What can this be attributed to? COVID-19.
The past 6 weeks I have loosely tracked the amount of time my mother and I spend on the couch surfing channels and using our laptops. On average we could sit for about 12 to 13 hours (in and out of sleep and to and from the kitchen, of course) binging show after show and typing email after email.
After about the fourth week I began to wake up to text messages from my Gen X parents sent to our family group chat. The text messages were TikToks that had been sent during the wee hours of the morning.
This is how I knew the time in isolation was helping my parents become technically inclined.
According to postbeyond.com, only about 24 percent of Gen Xers actually post and share to social media compared to the 44 percent of Gen Zers who check their profiles at least hourly. In other words, for my parents to be on TikTok was a big deal.
Because of the coronavirus, the generation gap is a gap no more.